This trilogy offers another refreshing take on traditional coming of age stories. Often in fantasy, magic is seen as a way out for the protagonist. It lets them move away from their humble beginnings to a magic college where everything is better. In McKillip's world, that's not quite true. The wizards are all dead, and the only way to uncover their secrets is through riddles. Morgon is not a peasant boy, he's the ruler of a farming island called Hed. He's not happy with adventure, or the dangerous journey through magic. Unfortunately, he was born with three stars on his head, marking him for prophecy. However, this prophecy is not complete, and Morgon spends much of the novel reluctantly trying to figure out who he is and what he's supposed to be. The result is a hero with a real sense of vulnerability, both internally and in his ability to defend himself. His journey is a slow one, stretching out across the whole trilogy, tied together with elegant prose, unique magic and incredible attention to detail. Read if you like: Tolkien, high-fantasy, classic fantasy.
Books in Riddle-master Series (7)
J.R.R.Tolkien's A Lord of the Rings. I also recommend Ursula le Guin's classic The Earthsea trilogy (starts with A Wizard of Earthsea), which features the same lyrical writing style as McKillip, and the hauntingly beautiful tale of a young boy's journey from boy to wizard.
You might also try Sean Russell's Swan's War trilogy which features lyrical prose, a pervading sense of pathos and a world full of opportunity, were magic is as mysterious as it is dangerous.
Beautifully written, lyrical, and poignant, A Wizard of Earthsea is a classic coming of age story that evokes that same sort of feelings when you read The Riddle Master books.
A modern take on the classic High fantasy hero tale, but sharply written, lyrical, and exciting to read. Chances are if you like the Riddle Master books, you are going to love The Name of the Wind. I feel both books evoke the same sort of feelings when you read them, both are coming of age, both are lyrical, and both sometimes have a dreamlike quality (at times).
Jack Vance's brilliant High Fantasy trilogy. Some of the best written, best sounding stuff in the genre. Vance, like Patricia A. McKillip, has a mastery with words.
Booklists having this book
The 70's saw us Afro hairstyle, the Me generation, the continuation of the Cold War, the end of the Vietnam war, and death of the hippy trail. It was also... Read more
Tolkien is considered the founding father of the modern epic fantasy. Thus, it’s no surprise that many fantasy epics give a heavy nod to Tolkien, through some of the plot... Read more
Coming of age stories are one of the oldest themes in fiction, providing a sense of progression and growth that can't be rivaled. This is a theme that's as old... Read more
This list continues directly from where the Top 25 Best Fantasy List ends, starting from #26 and ending at #100 (yes, I know the list shows #1, but 1 =... Read more
Other books by Patricia A. Mckillip
This trilogy offers another refreshing take on traditional coming of age stories. Often in fantasy, magic is seen as a way out for the protagonist. It lets them move away... Read more
An endearing modern classic that won the World Fantasy Award, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a powerful tale about a good young sorceress who is wronged because of man's... Read more
A great series in the same style as Lord of the Rings and the Wizard of Earthsea. It's the story of the Riddle-Master of Hed, Morgan, who has an unknown... Read more
Sybel is 16 years old, and alone in the world, orphaned by her princess mother and her wizard father. Her only goal in life is to maintain the magical animals... Read more
Ombria is an ancient city. Its history lies buried underground among layers of buildings and previous manifestations of a town cloaked in darkness. Aboveground, the city is in trouble. The... Read more
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1975. This was the inaugural award. Read more
Patricia McKillip is one of the most eloquent fantasy writers in modern fantasy. She combines great characters with epic adventures to create books imbued with mystery. Why it's on this... Read more
Sybel is only sixteen when she is brought an orphaned baby to raise. She has little love for humans, having been raised alone on Eld Mountain with only the magical... Read more